"By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot, welcomed the spies and escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God."
Hebrews 11: 31
"Whom Do You Trust?"
"God lays upon us no other burden than that of putting our whole trust in Him."
What does it mean to me, when I say, "I trust God?"
"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"O holy trust! O endless sense of rest!
Like the beloved John
To lay his head upon the Saviour's breast,
And thus to journey on!"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Put yourself in Rahab's shoes. She had heard and seen how the God of Israel had opened a path through the Red Sea for His children and then swallowed up Egypt's army when they tried to pursue. She'd watched as the army of Israel prevailed against the kings of the Amorites. Now her visitors informed her that God had given Jericho into the hands of the Israelites. Trouble, doom and destruction were headed her way – and Rahab was convinced, without any doubt, that the God who led Israel was the only true God.
But like a lot of us, she wanted real, tangible, proof that she could trust these people she'd met only a few days before. As the author Mary Renault so aptly stated: "How can the people trust the harvest, unless they see it sown?" I find this an extremely enlightening observation. For it is much easier for me, as gardener, to believe that sweet peas will come up when I am the one who planted the seeds directly from the package, myself. I'm never surprised when beautiful pink, white and purple sweet pea blossoms begin to flap in the breeze.
Let us not forget, as Rahab watched what God was doing, the evidence began to ground her in the fact that this God was in control "of heaven and earth," as she told the spies. But remember, if Rahab had come to believe God ruled the universe, this also meant He was Lord of her life, too. For if God can keep the universe in the palm of His hand, He certainly shouldn't have any problem handling the difficulties that affect you and me. In her book, Living Love and Our Father, Ruth Burrows notes that we should, "Be happy to feel that you cannot control your life, that there is so much in you that you seem unable to cope with. Trust yourself to Him, take each moment as it comes, for each moment holds Him. Let Him have the say, let Him take charge."
In the face of the unknown, Rahab asked the spies, "I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord." As I reread this text, I was struck by the very important fact that it was not the spies Rahab relied on. The "firm foundation" of her faith was planted on the Lord which, as she had come to know Him, was someone she could and did trust.
As we review the bricks that make up the foundation of a firm faith, when we "believe" and "receive," we are held within the "preserving" hand of God where His power shields and protects us as we "refuse" all that would hinder or harm our relationship with Him. And it is this continual knowledge and witness everyday to a God we can rely on, that builds the trust which keeps the foundation of our lives solid.
Hymn writer, Eric Routley penned these comforting words:
"So, my soul, why such disquiet?
Why such mourning, why such fear?
Day already breaks on darkness;
God has sought you;
God is near.
Hope in God, and you shall live,
All delight He waits to give.
Peace and power and every blessing
You shall know,
This faith possessing."
God sought out His daughter, Rahab the harlot of Jericho. And when He found her, He plucked her from the house of Jericho to the house of God.
But please never forget, after the spies left, Rahab was alone. And for seven days, she had to "trust the Lord" as the children of Israel marched silently around the walls of Jericho. It was in this time of silence that the foundation of her faith held firm for she had learned to trust her Father.
All of us have those times when heaven's silence falls upon us. Even God's Son felt the silence, yet Jesus still maintained "unswerving trust in the Silence, He called Father."
May you and I do the same as we believe and receive and are preserved to refuse the power of evil for we unendingly trust God.
"And I will trust that
He who heeds
The life that hides in mead and wold,
Who hangs yon alder's crimson beads,
And stains these mosses green and gold,
Will still, as He hath done, incline
His gracious care to me and thine."
John Greenleaf Whittier, Poet
"Don't try to hold God's hand; let Him hold yours. Let Him do the holding, and you the trusting."
Hammer William Webb-Peploe
"We Hunger for What You Offer"
O God of watchful care,
night is as day for you,
and no sparrow falls beyond
the catch of your eye,
so you know us all together,
though our attention to you
is partial, jumbled, and short.
In the confusion of pride, we have stumbled
surrendering to our fears
more than striving in faith;
succumbing to the counsels of comfort
more than rising to the appeals of love
and the claims of justice;
cleaving to our impulses for security
more than our longing for freedom
and the challenge to use it creatively;
bowing to our addiction to blaming
and the illusion of innocence
more than taking responsibility
and attending to our need
to forgive and be forgiven.
Still, we hunger now
for what you mercifully offer:
a new beginning in living fully,
loving generously, justicing passionately,
sharing peacefully, making merry inclusively.
Lord of atoms and galaxies,
societies, families, and these poor hearts of ours,
by your power and in your purposes,
begin this new creation in us today
and through every tomorrow,
liberating us to risk whatever
letting go and taking up it requires.
Unburden us from the guilt and self-pity,
the arrogance and defensiveness
that drains our energy to be compassionate
and our honesty to be humble.
Refresh our hope, renew our wonder,
expand our gratitude, sharpen our discernment,
nurture in us the will to be trustworthy
and the capacity to trust,
and make clear our vision
that we may see you in all we meet,
all we do, all we are, all we can become;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
"My Heart In My Mouth"